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ROME: The number of young adults in Italy has declined sharply in the last two decades, while the number of elderly people in the country has grown, government data released Wednesday shows.

Italy’s National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) said in its 2024 Annual Report that an increasing number of those in the youngest demographic continue to live at home with their parents, and Italians are also getting married and having children later in life.

The number of young adults in Italy -- defined as people between the ages of 18 and 34 -- fell by more than 3 million in the 21-year span ending last year, ISTAT reported. Over that time, the number of young adults declined to 10.33 million compared to 13.39 million in 2002, a decrease of 22.9 per cent, said Xinhua.

In contrast, the number of elderly people in Italy has climbed over the same time span, increasing from 9.1 million in 1994 to 14.1 million last year. This represents an increase of 54.4 per cent.

These developments among Italy’s young and elderly population are a reflection of the country’s dramatic demographic shift due to falling birthrates, low immigration, and increasing life expectancy.

Women are also waiting longer to become mothers, with the average age for a first-time mother increasing to 31.6 years of age, up from 29.7 years of age in 2002.

Meanwhile, the average age for the first marriage for men has gone up to 36.5 years old, compared to 31.7 in 2002, and the age for women has increased from 28.9 to 33.6.